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Posted March 8, 2009
Heat of the Knight...not so hot
Down and out Lisle MacHugh is in yet another quandary. She's lost her husband of an indefined, short-period of time at Culloden; she's raising her ungrateful step-daughters in overall poverty with the remaining clansmen and women of Clan MacHugh, which according basic math, numbers exactly three people excluding herself and step-daughters; and the roof of her castle literally comes crashing in on her. Enter Langstan Leed Monteith, aka the Black Monteith. Langston has lots of gold which Lisle is seriously lacking, a reputation as a traitor in Scotland based upon his absence at Culloden and a healthy dose of attraction to Lisle. Of course, Langstan offers for her. The destitute MacHughs promptly toss her to Monteith as fast as the bag of gold can hit the war-torn stones.
Lisle is a stubborn, independent and spirited character in the beginning who, once married to Monteith, becomes a stale pin cushion. Her only exhibition of her character after the marriage occurs when she tells Monteith's numerous servants to "get out". The explanations in Lisle's complete change in character is flimsy at best. The pages are heaped with exploits of her trying to figure out what Monteith is doing with his castle, men and money.
Monteith is a consistent character whose secrets are difficult to discern. However, as the story progresses, little explanation or confirmation is forthcoming, either from him, the other characters nor Lisle's childish attempts at being a spy in her own household.
The relationship between the main characters developes but never really ripens. The physical scenes between the parties are obtuse and have a rushed, glossed over feel; satisfaction finds the characters but you don't see or feel how they got there. The underlying post-Culloden plot falls flat and is anything but wrapped up in the end. Bonnie Prince Charlie seemingly disappears under Monteith's nose; you don't know where or why he went and how Monteith is connected to him, except to say that he is supporting the New Pretender. Overall, the novel has promise which fails miserably to deliver. I so liked Lisle's character in the beginning and wanted her to keep challenging Monteith; demand answers from him, have fights with him, take possession of the household as she should have and which would have kept in line with her character. I enjoyed Monteith's mystic and was looking forward to the answers and an interesting summation which I am still trying to figure out.
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Posted August 29, 2011
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